Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cool Little Mittens

I've spent the better part of the last couple of days knitting mitts.

Yeah, I know, usually I can only knit on Mondays; but a friend with cold hands sent me this bag of yarn, months and months ago, in return for making her a pair of fingerless mitts. Trouble was, I couldn't find a pattern that would work with the Tweedy Silk yarn that she really wanted mitts made from.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a set of Options Harmony interchangeable needles from Knit Picks, and while I was at it, I ordered some gorgeous yarn, and a book called Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders, since all the books were on sale.

I finally had a chance to look at the book on Thursday night late, and found a pattern that I liked, and that only called for 102 yards of yarn.

The silk tweed had 104 yards, so I figured I could do this, if I was very careful.

As I said, the yarn has been sitting here, looking at me accusingly, for months. So I decided to take the day yesterday, and knit them up.

Now, I'd been warned that this book, although lovely, is full of errors. I'd been told to go to the Corrections Page for the book and check the errata before knitting anything.

So I did that, and found the corrections.

According to the corrections, the cuff should have been 3 inches long, not 2 inches.

But I decided not to change that, since I wasn't sure if the mitt had been knitted with a 2 inch cuff when it only took 102 yards of yarn, and I didn't have enough wiggle room to risk it.

However, the corrections also said to change which stitches were put on the holder to make the thumb, for the Left Mitt.

So I faithfully followed the corrected pattern. (Well, eventually I did. First I decided to put the marker for the left thumb increases before the increase, not after, because I thought it would be easier to keep track of, and what difference did it make? Then I found out what difference it makes, when I realized that I'd gone up the wrong side of the "v", and had to tink 16 rows. I won't be making that mistake again!)

The thing is, this book has the pictures all in the front, and the patterns in the back. So you're not looking at a picture while you make the mitts.

I had them both finished, except for the thumb on the left one, and was looking at them, when I said to myself, "Self, I thought the ribbing over the palm looked cooler than this."

So I turned back to the image, and took a look. And sure enough, it looked much cooler, and totally different! It was clear, from a single glance, that the Corrections had "corrected" the wrong hand! The left thumb had been done correctly, in the book. It was the right thumb that had been published with instructions to put the wrong stitches on the holder.


I could just see myself unworking the bindoff, tinking back 13 rows to the thumb, unworking the thumb on one mitt, and then changing which stitches were going to be used to make the thumb, and knitting them all back up again.

So I went to bed, instead. After all, it was very late. I was allowed.

This morning, when I got up, I looked at the mittens, and tried them on again. And I thought to myself, "Self, these fit really really well. I will cry if I tink and reknit, and then they don't fit as well as they do now. What shall I do?"

I answered myself, "Self, let's make another pair, and see if they fit better or worse. And while we're at it, we can check to see if we're right about how to correct the corrections, since we've only been knitting for a year (almost) and can very easily be wrong about this stuff."

So I did that.

I got some beautiful dark turquoise Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK out of my stash, cast on, and knit a swatch. (See, I'm good, I am!) While doing that, I realized that the whole ball was going to have to be rewound, because part of it had fallen off the rest, and had gotten all tangled.

I was also going to have to move up a needle size. The Cashmerino is much, much softer and springer than the silk. (Too bad it has the merino wool in it. My friend with cold hands would love it; but she's allergic to wool.)

So I rewound, cast on with a larger needle, made gauge, and knit the mitt. And I was right; if you apply the written Correction from the website to the right hand, not the left, and make the left as written in the book, the mitts match the photograph in the book perfectly.

This is what they look like, in the book, and with the Correction corrected to match the uncorrected mitt, instead of the corrected one. If you're making these, and you want them to look like this, the left mitt is correct, in the book. You need to change the right mitt to match it.

Cool Little Mitts; as they should be.

I was also right about the fit, though. The mitts look much cooler. But they don't fit nearly as well. The fit when you make them "wrong" is unbelievable. They fit like... well, like a glove! A well-fitting glove.

However, they look like this. Nice, but not nearly as cool as they were meant to be. The right mitt is on the top, in this shot. (It's on the left, in the blue mitts; but don't think about that. I sure didn't, when I was taking the pictures!)

Cool Little Mitts; corrected incorrectly

So my friend with cold hands is getting the pair that feels great on, since I decided not to spend a lot of time making them not fit as well, even though they would look cooler. I hope that's okay, friend with cold hands. (/me waves to her cold-handed friend.)

However, while I was finishing up the thumb on the right hand of the "test" pair, Michael came home from a business trip. I explained to him what had been going on, and gave him the (now completed) right mitt in the cahsmerino to see.

He tried it on, and then clutched it to his chest, looked at me with his best "puppy dog eyes" and said, "Can I have a pair like this, someday?"

So, of course, I knit the left mitt, and he's getting those. It's his "turn" anyway.

I also learned another thing, knitting two pair of mitts in two days like this.

When you're using Option Harmony needles, it's really, really important to make sure that you have attached the same needle size to both ends of the cable. Not only will it be much, much, much easier to slip the stitches back on the needle, but the knitting will look nicer, too.

Just sayin'.

Pictures when I get them! And if you want the corrections for the pattern, let me know, and I'll post it in the Comments.

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